Stress Management: Imagery Exercises

Search Knowledgebase

Topic Contents

Stress Management: Imagery Exercises

Topic Overview

The methods described here help you relax, relieve stress, and feel better.

Imagery for releasing muscle tension

Close your eyes and imagine one of the following images:

  • Wax softens and melts.
  • A tight, twisted rope slowly unwinds.
  • Tension swirls out of your body and down the drain.
  • You hold a remote control and turn down the volume on your muscle tension.

Imagery as a mini-vacation

Take a 10-minute trip in your mind to someplace you enjoy. The place may be a quiet, peaceful scene or a fun activity. It may be a favourite place from your past or some place you have never seen but can imagine.

  • Picture yourself there in as much detail as possible. Imagine the sounds, smells, sights, and feelings.
  • Let your body and mind respond as if you were actually there. Your thoughts will be calmed or brightened, your muscles will relax, and a feeling of letting go will come over you.

Colour imagery

Colour imagery is good for combatting daily hassles and tensions.

  1. Close your eyes and scan your body for tension or discomfort. Picture the colour red and associate it with this tension. Imagine all the tense parts of your body as red.
  2. Take a deep breath and change the colour from red to blue. Imagine the tension slipping away as the areas change from red to blue. Experience the relaxation associated with the colour blue.
  3. Now imagine the colour blue becoming deeper and darker, and relax further with each shade of blue.

Practice changing the tension colour from red to blue with each daily hassle you confront. Imagine the colour blue as your cue to relax.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Last Revised June 14, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.